Thinking Inside The Box For Holiday Shopping

With only 23 days left until Christmas, the pressure is mounting. Sure, there are some Type A people who’ve long since done their holiday shopping and will be wrapping gifts this weekend. If you are one of those people, we might strongly suggest you not mention that to anyone else between now and about 6:00 PM on December 24th.

That’s because the rest of us will spend the next few weeks stressfully racking our brains trying to find the right Christmas gift for those we love.

Sometimes it’s easy.

But let’s face it: Most of the time, it’s not.

There are gift cards, of course, but there’s also that desire to give someone a tangible gift of some kind — which is the perfect time to think inside the box.

Specifically, the subscription box. That monthly box of candy, makeup, food, toys, dog toys and almost anything else you can think of that can make the thrill of opening a gift a monthly occurrence instead of an end-of-December-only event that can disappoint almost as many times as it can delight.

And, boy, are there a lot to choose from.


Man Crates

There are no shortage of subscription boxes out there just for men, but only one of them comes in a real crate that requires a real crowbar to open.

That’s Man Crates — and yes, they do send the crowbar.

In their on-site manifesto, the team at Man Crates spells out their mission: to make the world a better place for men.

“Men deserve better gifts. Gifts that stir a primal craze of chest bumps and cheers, not polite half-smiles. We believe gifts should be just as exciting to give as they are to receive; the gifts of water cooler legend. We are Man Crates, and we do awesome gifts for men.”

And what could live up to packaging and marketing so robustly manly? What is out there that will cause spontaneous chest bumping at its mere mention?

Well, that depends on what kind of crate you want. For example, “The Clean Shave Crate” with a price point of $139.99 features a silver tip badger brush, Parker razor, Shark chrome blades, shave towel, Imperial pre-shave oil, glycerin face soap and bergamot aftershave.

If that sounds a bit too metrosexual, there’s also the “Pipe Carving Kit.” For $79.99, woodworkers can get their hands rough with a Briar wood pipe block and stem, a bench vise, a cross-cut blade pull saw, a rasp and file set, grit sand paper and wood finish.


Kit Nip Boxes

There are a staggering number of subscription boxes geared toward dog owners and dog lovers. The team at Buzzfeed just took several for a test drive.

But despite cats’ relative dominance on YouTube, cat-centric boxes aren’t quite as common. So, what is a cat lover to do?


KitNipBox offers the kind of “personalized” (catinized, felinized) experience that cat owners want to share with their feline friends.

Boxes delivered come tricked out with cat toys, all-natural treats and anything else they think your cat will like. And they clearly think a lot about what cats would like: Their site makes it pretty clear.

“KitNipBox is a cat’s best friend! Each month, our team scours the world for the most amazing cat toys, treats, accessories and other goodies. Our CMO (Chief Meow Officer), Sylvester, the black cat, and his team of kitty product connoisseurs personally try the items to ensure their absolute purr-fection for kitties everywhere. We then create a box of unique items and ship it to your doorstep. Purrs all around!”

As dog lovers, we want to note that a treat box could never be your dog’s best friend, because your dog already has a best friend, and it’s you. Dogs are loyal.

But assuming you are someone who loves cats, and thus wants a pet that will love its things more than it loves you, a KitNipBox is probably the best way to keep a cat’s attention. And for $19.99 a month — or $29.99 for a one-off — it’s not a terribly expensive way to go about it.

Plus, the company has a strong charitable presence, partnering with rescues, shelters and trap-spay-neuter programs.



The downside of this particular subscription service is that you are going to need a friend or loved one across the pond, because WhiskyMe is available only in the U.K. However, its five-word description will make you consider finding just such a friend.

“Whisky in a sippy pouch.”

Yes, the team at WhiskyMe saw the Capri Sun juice pouches currently sitting in children’s lunchboxes around the world and thought, “You know, that is not a bad way to move hard liquor.”

They replaced the straw with a twist-off top.

The subscription box costs £7 a month and offers users a new 5 cl. pouch each month. The whisky is always a single malt selected by Founders Thomas Aske and Tristan Stephenson, who are also the proprietors of London’s Black Rock whisky bar.

Their stated goal?

“To appreciate the rich diversity of single malt whisky, with minimal fuss and minimal cost, one large glass at a time.”


Quirky Crate

While there are plenty of odd subscription boxes out there, Quirky Crate is probably the only one on the market working hard to be identified for its, well, quirkiness.

Billed as “the monthly subscription box for the not-so-basic girl,” the Quirky Crate is basically a Manic Pixie Dream Girl kit in a box, with six to nine quirky items like handmade enamel pins, “quirky socks,” “cute stationary and stickers,” “eccentric handbags” and “lots of flare!”

A full crate is about $35 a month; the three-item “Quirky Post” is about $13.


So what can we learn from subscription commerce during this holiday season? Well mot important – don’t give up hope, there is literally a gift out there for everyone.

And sometimes, that gift can even be opened with a crowbar.

Doesn’t get much merrier than that.


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